The Online History of the Royal Australian Air Force

Military aviation was first pioneered during the First World War. During that war, both the armies and the navies of all the major combatants operated aircraft. Late in the war, however, when it was realized that aerial fighting was a distinct form of warfare and not just an adjunct to land or sea operations, some nations formed specialist air forces. Combining the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps, Great Britain formed the Royal Air Force in 1918. The four squadrons of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) remained part of the AIF. In 1920, the remnants of the AFC became the Australian Air Corps, which in turn became the Royal Australian Air Force on 31 March 1921.

The Australian War Memorial contains an online collection of material to help you in your family history research as well as on a variety of topics concerning the wartime experiences of the brave men and women who served in Australia’s military forces.

You can learn more at while the collection can be searched by beginning at

My thanks to newsletter reader Jim Eustice for telling me about this online collection.

One Comment

I have used the Australian War Memorial military record collection many times. Sometimes the entire service record (including a picture of the soldier) is available. Along with the Australian digitized newspaper collection at, and the Ryerson Newspaper Death and Obituary Index, to name a few, there is an amazing amount of free information available for research in Australia.
Sue Kirk


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